10 Things You’re Missing If You Haven’t Been to Winston-Salem

Explore the artsy, entrepreneurial North Carolina burg that gave us the country’s first Arts Council—and Krispy Kreme doughnuts. (You’re welcome.)

Valerie Luesse
Reynolda House Museum of American Art
Reynolda House Museum of American Art
Photo: Black Horse Studio/Visit Winston-Salem

This eclectic city in northwestern North Carolina has the Smokies and the Blue Ridge to the west and the Outer Banks to the east. Its famed hyphen comes from the merger of two cities in 1913. Salem was settled in 1766 by serious-minded, Eastern European Moravians known for arts and culture. Upstart Winston, established in 1851, attracted entrepreneurs like tobacco titan R.J. Reynolds. Put the two together, and you have a city with a thriving arts community—it’s home to the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, the National Black Theatre Festival, and much more—and an inventive spirit. Krispy Kreme doughnuts and Texas Pete hot sauce were born here.

Kimpton Cardinal Presidential Suite
Photo: Kimpton Cardinal Hotel
Kimpton Cardinal Presidential Suite

1. Swank Historic Hotel
The Kimpton Cardinal
just opened downtown in the historic, R.J. Reynolds building, an Art Deco wonder that inspired the Empire State Building.

2. Paris—Southern Style
Led by executive chef Ed Witt, The Katharine Brasserie & Bar (adjacent to The Cardinal hotel) is part French and part Southern, serving a seasonal menu and creative cocktails.

3. The (Art) House That R.J. Built
The former home of tobacco king R.J. Reynolds and his wife, Katharine, is now Reynolda House Museum of American Art with a collection including masterpieces from the likes of Mary Cassatt, Frederic Church, and Georgia O’Keeffe.

Bahnson Burger at Spring House
Photo: Visit Winston-Salem
Bahnson Burger at Spring House

4. Dining on “Millionaire’s Row”
Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen & Bar
occupies one of the few remaining mansions on what once was Winston-Salem’s “Millionaire’s Row” (downtown’s 5th Street). Executive Chef Tim Grandinetti serves a seasonal menu featuring signature Southern dishes with a twist.

5. Cool Casual Eats
Head to Mozelle’s Fresh Southern Bistro downtown for a Cuban or Mozelle’s Pimento Cheeseburger. Mary’s Gourmet Diner in the historic arts district serves fresh fare with a side of local art.

6. Classic Bakery
Dewey’s Bakery
has been a Winston-Salem stalwart since 1930, with multiple locations. Even more Dewey’s spots pop up all over town in November and December.

Dewey's Bakery
Dewey's Bakery
© 2004 The Bowyer Studio, Inc/Visit Winston-Salem

7. Serious Chocolate
Black Mountain Chocolate
on Trade Street uses heirloom, fair-trade cocoa beans to handcraft chocolate for rich drinks, desserts, and bonbons. Take a guided tour or just watch through the “Visible Factory.”

8. Craft Beer
Sip and chill at local breweries that take their cold ones seriously: Foothills Brewing, Hoots Roller Bar & Beer Co., and Small Batch Beer Co.

9. Vineyards & Wineries
Sample wines from North Carolina’s famed Yadkin Valley when you visit Sanders Ridge, Raffaldini Vineyards & Winery, or Childress Vineyards, created by NASCAR team owner Richard Childress—it’s the largest winery in the Yadkin Valley.

10. “DADA”
The Downtown Arts District Association has brought studios, galleries, shops, restaurants, bars, and more to the downtown area between 5th, 7th, and Trade Streets.